Stamp of revenge

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 1:32 PM ET

CALGARY -- Under the category of no surprise, the Calgary Stampeders want redemption after fumbling and bumbling away a victory in the West semifinal last fall to the hated Edmonton Eskimos.

The Stamps committed a whopping six turnovers in the game and watched an 11-point lead disappear in the second half.

It was such a tough loss, some players - like defensive lineman Sheldon Napastuk - still aren't over it.

"I'll tell you when I am," he said.

"This was a miserable off-season."

So, there is no need for a big motivational speech by Stamps' head coach Tom Higgins tonight when Calgary and Edmonton open the regular season at McMahon Stadium.

Here are the four keys to the game:

1. Can the Esks' O-line handle the heat?

The Stamps led the league in sacks last year and will likely throw the kitchen sink at this inexperienced line with blitz packages from the linebackers and secondary.

2. Discipline, discipline, discipline.

After a perfect lesson in last Friday's preseason game in how not to be disciplined, the Green and Gold need to cut their penalty-yard total by more than 50%. Negating three or four big plays on offence with stupid penalties will destroy team morale.

3. Can Edmonton exploit a suddenly changing Calgary secondary?

With CFL veteran Crance Clemons injuring a hamstring in practice this week, Sadrick Williams is now a starting cornerback on the same side of the field with rookie Jerron Ruffin at halfback.

The raw pair of defenders will be working against cagey veteran slotback Mookie Mitchell and talented, but inconsistent Trevor Gaylor.

4. Halftime lead

The Esks' record when they're trailing at half-time in a regular-season game is horrendous. In the last two years, Edmonton is 2-13 when losing at the end of the second quarter.

If the defending Grey Cup champs are losing by 10 points or more in the third quarter, they will have to abandon their time-consuming run game with Troy Davis - and that will make the Calgary defence even more effective.


Videos

Photos